By Lindsay Starr Platt
The Board of Trustees of Belton Independent School District (ISD) met for a regular meeting on Monday night. The board meeting opened with a board workshop and presentations from two architectural firms.
Jarrod Sterzinger, O’Connel Robertson Architects of Austin presented the planning schedule for the second comprehensive high school for Belton ISD.
Roberto Ramirez, WRA Architects of Dallas presented site plans for the new elementary. Site plans included locations in both Temple and Belton. Each site plans presented its own set of pros and cons from sewer and water, topography issues, pedestrian traffic, and residential development.
If funding is approved in a 2017 bond election by voters, construction of new elementary school could begin that year and to be opened in the fall of 2019. The high school could break ground in 2018.
“You have to have a set of goals and a roadmap,” said Randy Pittenger, President, Board of Trustees. “I appreciate all the hard work it takes to do this. To all the campuses, “We are Tigers”. I love reading these campus plans. There are some unique personalities in our campuses and how they function. Creative fun things are going on.”
Phil Haggerty, Assistant Superintendent, Business Services, Belton ISD, presented the 2016-2017 Budget and Proposed Tax Rate. Haggerty presented that, Belton ISD’s will maintain the tax rate of $1.44.
This month’s Big Red Community Partner award was awarded to Lakewood Veterinary Clinic. Lakewood Veterinary Clinic has been a valuable partner for career and technical education students seeking the
Level I Veterinary Assistant Certification. Input from Lakewood Veterinary Clinic has also helped to align course offerings with the needs of local employers.
Tony Adams, Sports Editor, The Belton Journal was presented with the Texas Association of School Boards (TASB) “Media Honor Roll”.
Belton High School had 96 high school students that were recognized for Advanced Placement (AP) Scholar Awards. The award went to students who earned AP Scholar awards in 2016 by scoring a three or more in AP tests. The awards are given for “college-level achievement” as demonstrated by performance on AP exams. The number of awards earned by Belton ISD students has been steadily increasing from 23 in 2010 to a total of 101 this year.
“There is no doubt that these students are prepared to excel in tomorrow’s world,” said Pittenger. “Through their hard work in Advanced Placement classes, our AP Scholars have demonstrated incredible academic ability. Further evidence that both our students and our teachers are succeeding.”
Sidney Holman, pitcher, Belton Girls Softball was recognized and has been named to the MaxPreps 2016 Softball All-American Second Team. Holman is only the second student-athlete from Belton High School to be named to an All-American team in the history of the school.
Shivangi Ojha has won first place in her division of the Texas School Bus Safety Poster Contest for her fifth consecutive year sponsored by the Texas Association for Pupil Transportation. Ojha, student, Lake Belton Middle School, also won the state contest’s top overall award, “Best in Show.” Ojha’s will go on to represent Texas in the National School Bus Safety Poster Contest.
“She has won national before too,” said Pittinger.
Twenty students received the Lone Star FFA Degree at the Texas FFA State Convention. FFA members, who have been active in the organization for at least two years can earn the degree if they meet academic criteria, participate in community service and demonstrate leadership skills
Belton ISD and all of its campuses received the state’s highest accountability rating, “met standard.” The ratings were released earlier today by the Texas Education Agency and were announced at the Monday night board meeting. This is the fourth year that Belton ISD and all of its campuses have received the highest rating since they have been awarded.
“I’m pleased that our district and all of our schools have once again received that state’s highest accountability rating,” said Susan Kincannon, Superintendent, Belton ISD. “This is one measure of Belton ISD’s success preparing students to excel in tomorrow’s world. This is, however, only one measure of our students’ success. It captures how they performed on one test, on one day. There are many other dimensions of success.
Dr. Merl Brandon, Assistant Superintendent of Student Services & Administration presented improvement plans for the district and each campus. The board approved the plans is for the 2016-2017 school year.
“We’re pleased that all of our campuses met standard and that we have a large number of student accomplishments to celebrate,” said Pittenger.
Belton ISD’s convocation for 2016 is to be held on Tuesday morning. This convocation is a back-to-school event for all district employees. This year’s theme is “We’re all Tigers.” As part of that theme, campus principals and department directors will be sharing stories that highlight the diversity of the district’s students and staff as well as their shared sense of community.
One of the common themes of this year’s district and campus plans is a focus on celebrating diversity and creating an inclusive environment.
“These plans are a reminder that we’re all tigers,” said Kincannon. “Yes, all of our schools share the same mascot, but more than that, all of our employees share a commitment to making every child feel welcome. Regardless of our students’ backgrounds or the programs that they participate in, there is a place for every student here, as a tiger.”